- Published on 24 May 2017
Forbes recently reported the interesting perspective of smart-earbud startup Doppler Labs as it prepares for an over-the-counter hearing aid bill to be passed in the United States.
Doppler Labs recently put together a new team of half a dozen people under the leadership of the company’s new Chief Scientist, Jim Pitkow, including experts in audiology, machine learning, and accessibility. Their main objective is to prepare the smart-earbud startup for the new legislation that would allow people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss to obtain hearing aids over-the-counter without medical consultation.
The company’s CEO Noah Kraft and his team at Doppler have long been working on the possibility of selling their wireless in-ear computers directly to people with hearing loss. Their device can enhance sound or mute it, and has many other functionalities. Under current regulations, the company was not able to market its Here One devices in this way, but that could change if the bill is passed.
“The question was always how do we go after this hearing health market in a way that is innovative,” Kraft said in an interview. “The hearing legislation is a catalyst.” According to Brian Hall, formerly of Microsoft, and who is now Doppler’s Chief Operating Officer, the hearing health market “is where we feel like there is the biggest opportunity for disruption. This is a USD 6 billion market today, but effectively it serves less than 25% of the people that need hearing health.”